Lover’s Gifts XXII: I Shall Gladly Suffer
I shall gladly suffer the pride of culture to die out in my house,
if only in some happy future I am born a herd-boy in the Brinda
The herd-boy who grazes his cattle sitting under the banyan
tree, and idly weaves gunja flowers into garlands, who loves to
splash and plunge in the Jamuna’s cool deep stream.
He calls his companions to wake up when morning dawns, and all
the houses in the lane hum with the sound of the churn, clouds of
dust are raised by the cattle, the maidens come out in the
courtyard to milk the king.
As the shadows deepen under the tomal trees, and the dusk
gathers on the river-banks; when the milkmaids, while crossing the
turbulent water, tremble with fear; and loud peacocks, with tails
outspread, dance in the forest, he watchers the summer clouds.
When the April night is sweet as a fresh-blown flower, he
disappears in the forest with a peacock’s plume in his hair; the
swing ropes are twined with flowers on the branches; the south wind
throbs with music, and the merry shepherd boys crowd on the banks
of the blue river.
No, I will never be the leader, brothers, of this new age of
new Bengal; I shall not trouble to light the lamp of culture for
the benighted. If only I could be born, under the shady asoka
groves, in some village of Brinda, where milk is churned by the